Release Date: 8/18/2009
MSRP: $299.99 (160 GB model)
The first thing you will notice when you open the white box is how light and compact the console is. Being heavier than the Wii, but lighter than the Xbox it is completely square and just slightly rounded in the middle. The back actually reminded me of the ridging from the fat PS2, so for nostalgia’s sake, it made me smile. The console now has a smooth matte finish instead of the horrible gloss sheen that welcomes fingerprints. Gone is the horrible Spider-Man font, but replaced with the original PlayStation font, and a simple PS3 engraved right on the front. Gone is the horrible fully spelled-out name and the huge dome that made it look like a George Foreman grill.
Now since I have seen the older PS3 for so long and then compared it to the new one I was disappointed in the hardware features. If anyone remembers the revealing of the PS3 at E3 in ’05 they promised 6 USB ports, 3 ethernet connections so it could be used as a router, two HDMI ports, and the external memory slot, plus PS2/PS1 backward compatibility, yet the final console hardly offered half of this. Now 3 years later the console is stripped of almost all those features. Sporting only two USB slots, one HDMI port, no PS2 emulation, and no external media storage it makes you really wish you got more bang for your buck. Aesthetically the console has improved, but in terms of holes to plug stuff into it is lacking. It does, however, have a regular power cable with surprisingly no brick, and consumes fewer power thanks to its 45-nanometer processor compared to the older model’s 90-nanometer processor. The RSX graphics chip has been upgraded to consume less power and process better with less lag.
Once you get the thing hooked up the console has impressively placed the power and eject buttons right there below the disc slot (no tray like the Xbox thank god). The console’s controller is reminiscent of the classic PlayStation controller we have grown to love, but with some additional features: It’s lighter than either of the Xbox or Wii controllers with Six-Axis motion sensing, wireless Bluetooth, a mini USB slot, and R2 and L2 now trigger. All of this was added by subtracting weight and keeping the classic feel. Good job Sony you know how to do controllers right! It feels great in your hands, but people who like the heavyweight of the Xbox or Wii controllers may naysay.
When you boot the console up you are greeted with something familiar: An XMB. PSP users will recognize this right away, and I feel this was a smart move on Sony so all of their devices have similar menus without confusing consumers. However, once you get a lot of stuff on your HDD the XMB becomes cluttered and doesn’t have a that nice organized feeling like the Xbox has. I will admit that the PS3 is the least user-friendly console on the market, and this is clear by the dozens upon dozens of settings. There are settings for setting everything including hooking up a printer! The PS3 seems more HD ready than any of the other two consoles with its Blu-Ray drive and the onslaught of HD settings. You can have the PS3 prioritize for what cable you are using for audio and video, dozens of other misc settings for everything, and I love this control. Hooking up to the internet is easy compared to the PS2 since it is the only other console besides the Wii that connects wirelessly without external adapters.
While the PSN store isn’t as streamlined as the Xbox LIVE Marketplace is doing react to commands faster and load times between pages are quicker. It is the nicest and flashiest looking marketplace of the three consoles, so it makes online shoppers feel right at home like you are on a website. Downloading and purchasing items is another nightmare since you can only do increments of money that are added to your “wallet”. Downloading games is a real hassle since you have to add the item to your cart, then check out then download the item, then install it. Yeah, install it? Seriously? This isn’t a computer so why do you have to install it? The install time also takes forever especially for games over 1GB so switch to a regular TV for a while or get on the computer. Now you can download in the background, but you can’t download while in sleep mode like the Xbox which is a real disappointment and means leaving the console on. You can download while playing games, and while in remote play so this sort of makes up for it, but you can’t download while watching Blu-Ray movies…real weird I know.
Let’s talk about something really important here: Backup. Sony is the only company that has even thought of this idea and Microsoft is the worst with all the registering consoles and profiles connected to saves and content and whatnot. The Wii’s items can be backed up to an SD card, but the PS3 actually lets you put your stuff on anything! Speaking of the HDD Sony has added a feature that Microsoft still won’t do and that is being able to copy anything from your computer to your PS3 HDD. Amazing isn’t it? Yeah, it’s like a damn angel is so sweet.
Let’s talk about remote play. What is this? Well, it allows you to connect to your PS3 wirelessly to your PSP either directly or over the internet. Yeah, this really shows how dedicated Nintendo is to the DS. You can actually go to a Wi-FI spot in Amsterdam and connect to your PS3 from your house, and this includes the store, web browser, and crap on your computer. The biggest downside and the biggest request is being able to play PS3 games on your PSP and vice versa. Currently, Lair is the only game that does this, but Sony said they would look into implanting this permanently. Another downside would be the fact that you can’t play PSP games on the PS3, but you can download them and transfer them remotely, yeah sort of retarded.
Well, what about the games? I purchased my chunk of glory for the exclusives mainly such as Heavenly Sword, Killzone 2, Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, and many more franchises. From just popping in that disc to start up the console is silent. You barely hear a whistle and are almost as quiet as the Wii if not quieter, unlike the Xbox which has that God-awful tray that slides and clanks, and you can hear the laser clicking and the disc spinning up and down, and the processor fans kicking in. It sounds like you’re in the cockpit of a jet!
I know I talked about the controller, but man does it feel good in your hands! A tad small, but it feels right. The Sixaxis motion sensing is responsive and is just enough motion sensing to not feel like a complete gimmick *cough Wii cough*, but enough to add to the gameplay, and just enough to draw you in more, but still have a traditional controller in your hand. I think Sony had the best controller layout, and you don’t even need a retarded sensor bar!